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|Table of Contents|
Ong's Hat: The Beginning
Ong’s Hat: Gateway to the Dimensions
Ong’s Hat: Incunabula
Copyright 2011 by Joseph Matheny
This free edition, containing the original Ong’s Hat material, is released under a Creative Commons CC-ATT-NC-ND-3.0 license. Please share with friends.
The complete digital edition of Ong’s Hat: The Beginning, containing additional material is available from Hukilau via all major e-book retailers.
You have been searching for us without knowing it, following oblique references in crudely xeroxed marginal “samisdat” publications, crackpot mystical pamphlets, mail order courses ... a paper trail and a coded series of rumors spread at street level ... and the propagation of certain acts of insurrection against the Planetary Work Machine and the Consensus Reality ... or perhaps through various obscure mimeographed technical papers on the edges of “chaos science” ... through pirate computer networks ... or even through pure synchronicity and the pursuit of dreams.
In any case we know something about you, your interests, deeds and desires, works and days ... and we know your address.
Otherwise... you would not be reading this brochure...
It is often said that life is stranger than fiction. Indeed, I can attest to that. However, how strange can life become when the lines between “truth” and “fiction” blur like a fractal basin boundary? Is reality elastic? Is the future co-creative? Can the endless possibility waves and bifurcation points along the seemingly linear flow of day-to-day life be codified and transmogrified? All good questions and my observations, experiments, and results over the last 10 years seem to point to the answer: maybe. Now, right now, you may be saying, all he concluded was maybe? To which I would have to answer, “I wasn’t even sure of that when I began.” Therefore the very possibility warrants further research in this area. That is not a failure, far from it.
What are the Incunabula/Ong’s Hat documents and where did they come from? That’s an interesting question and one I ask myself quite often. You see, even people who are neck deep into the Ong’s Hat enigma can’t quite answer that. So, where did this all come from? Well, there are 3 books (including this one) that will explain just that. That it will take 3 books to explain it all says something in and of its self. Here are the facts:
Where is Ong’s Hat?
As was written in the Spring 2001 Pulse article on the subject titled: Ong’s Hat and the Gateway to Parallel Worlds:
“ In the last issue of the Pulse, the story of Ong’s Hat was introduced. Before we continue with that story, it will be interesting to backtrack and let everyone know what little historical facts have been gathered about this remote and enigmatic location in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. Ong’s Hat appears on some state maps but not on others. The designation appears just under thirty miles east of Philadelphia, just north of New Jersey State Highway 70. To arrive at the destination, you would take 70 to state highway 72 northwest and go up the road a couple of miles. There, you will find Ong’s Hat Road and a bar in a little triangle. If you’re lucky, some of the people in the bar might tell you some strange stories about the area. The Pine Barrens themselves have always been a mysterious and enigmatic location. It was settled in the pre-revolutionary days and eventually included Hessians, the German soldiers paid by the British, who did not desire to return to their Germanic homeland. What little there is to learn of the history of Ong’s Hat comes from Henry Beck who penned a book in 1936 entitled Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey. At that time, Ong’s Hat had appeared on maps and been around for over a century, but no one had ever taken it too seriously. Mr. Beck took a photographer, a “State Editor” and traveled to the region and interviewed what remaining natives were left in the area that had been designated as Ong’s Hat. According to them, the name originated from a young man whose last name was “Ong.” Mr. Ong was quite a dancer who captivated the ladies with his smooth moves and fashionable and shiny high silk hat. At that particular time, the little village consisted only of small houses and a dance hall. There was also a clearing where semipro prizefights were held. It seemed that one Saturday night, Mr. Ong snubbed one of his female partners at which point she took the hat from his head and deliberately stamped upon it in the middle of the dance floor. Another account picks up the story at this point but offers a little more information. It was said that Mr. Ong, who was quite inebriated at the time, tossed his distinguished hat into a tree in the center of the village. There, it stood in the tree, unreachable and battered. It hung there amidst the rain and wind for many months. At some point, the little town acquired the name of Ong’s Hat.”
The Ong’s Hat Ashram story, as told in the following chapters, seems to trace its roots back to the beginning of the Second World War. During the early post Pearl Harbor days of World War II, America suddenly found itself in the position of having its eastern seaboard invaded by German U-Boats and its western seaboard invaded by Japanese submarines. Feeling behind in the race, so to speak, the military industrial complex was born and given carte blanche to proceed with any means necessary to win the war. From this initiative came many “secret projects” including the Ong’s Hat project, the Montauk project, The Philadelphia Experiment and more. The military got its brain-power for a lot of these programs from Princeton University which is located very near Ong’s Hat. See the current bestselling book and Hollywood movie, “A Beautiful Mind” for a mainstream look into that group of unique minds. Also, see the opening chapters to Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon”.
John Tukey was one of the many Renaissance minds that wandered in and out of the many official and unofficial groups that formed and reformed with the regularity and fluidity of a Temporary Autonomous Zone, as described by Hakim Bey. John Tukey attracted international attention for his studies in mathematical and theoretical statistics and their applications to a wide variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. He led the way in the now-burgeoning fields of Exploratory Data Analysis and Robust Estimation, and his contributions to the Spectrum Analysis of Time Series and other aspects of Digital Signal Processing have been widely used in engineering and science. He has been credited with coining the word “bit”, a contraction of “binary digit”, which refers to a unit of information, often as processed by a computer.
In addition to strong continuing interests in a wide variety of areas of statistical philosophy, techniques and application, Tukey was active in improving the access of the scientist to scientific literature, particularly through the development of citation and permutation indices to the literature of statistics and probability. Looking at an 11 April 1984 interview with John Tukey, we see this strange admission:
Tucker: Wallman ended up as a professor of electric techniques at the Chalmers Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he is now retired. He wrote a book with Witold Hurewicz on dimension theory.
Tukey: It was intellectually about as strong a group as you are likely to find.
Tucker: Wasn’t Stone in this group?
Tukey: Arthur, yes. When did Arthur come? He must have been here by ‘39. Arthur, Dick Feynman, Bryant Tuckerman—who went to IBM—and I were the people who invented hexaflexagons. This came about because Arthur had an English-size notebook. Woolworth sold only American-size paper. He had to cut strips off the edges. He had to do something with the strips, so he started folding polygons. When he folded the hexagon he had the first hexaflexagon. Later came the Feynman diagram, the Tuckerman traverse, and so on.
Tucker: Was it that group that used the pseudonym “Pondiczery”?
Tukey: Yes, but with a somewhat broader reference.
Aspray: For what purpose?
Tukey: Well, the hope was that at some point Ersatz Stanislaus Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia was going to be able to sign something ESP RIP. Then there’s the wedding invitation done by the Bourbakis. It was for the marriage of Betty Bourbaki and Pondiczery. It was a formal wedding invitation with a long Latin sentence, most of which was mathematical jokes, three quarters of which you could probably decipher. Pondiczery even wrote a paper under a pseudonym, namely “The Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting” by H. Petard which appeared in the Monthly. There were also a few other papers by Pondiczery.
Tucker: Moulton, the editor of the Monthly at that time, wrote to me saying that he had this paper and the envelope was postmarked Princeton and he assumed that it was done by some people in math at Princeton. He said he would very much like to publish the paper, but there was a firm policy against publishing anything anonymous. He asked if I, or somebody else that he knew and could depend on, would tell him that the authorship would be revealed if for any reason it became legally necessary. I did not know precisely who they were, but I knew that John [Tukey] was one of them. He seemed to be in the thick of such things. John agreed that I could accept Moulton’s terms. I sent a letter with this assurance to Moulton and he went ahead and published it. Which I thought was very flexible on ...
Tukey: Somebody with a high principle. Pondiczery’s official residence was in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey which is a wide place in the road going southeast from Pemberton, but it does appear on some road maps. There is a gas station that has a sign out about Ong’s Hat.
Aspray: But no sign for Pondiczery?
Tukey: No sign for Pondiczery. Spelled c-z-e-r-y, by the way. Not like the area of India, Pondicherry, which is spelled c-h. Anyway, this was a good group, and I enjoyed its existence. I learned a lot from dinner table conversations. What was the name of our algebraist friend, a quiet soul who was around at that time?
To continue, further research into this area shows that the area of Ong’s Hat was a popular weekend spot for the Princeton groups and has been used in a histiographic metafictional sense in this very context by Neal Stephenson, in his seminal work, Cryptonomicon. Keep the concept of the Ong’s Hat Rod and Gun Club in your mind as you read this material (cited in the following chapters) and then think back to this sequence of clues when you encounter it. I think you will be able to put together the connection between a “Rod and Gun” club in Ong’s Hat with the Princeton “weekender” phenomena and Tukey’s “dinner club” reference above for yourself. To answer another question I’m sure you’ve just asked yourself, this was indeed the place and some of the people that became the group known as MJ-12.
So what does this mean? Well, it would seem to indicate that a group of scientists that were working on many secret projects wrote papers under pseudonyms and used the now deserted New Jersey Pine Barren Town of Ong’s Hat as a “residence” address for this endeavor. Why would they do such a thing? In an interview I did with a man who claimed to have been a young technical writer for one of these teams (name withheld by request), some of the projects that the budding U.S. Military Industrial Complex were sponsoring may have, in the mind of the scientists, gotten into ethical “gray areas”. Torn between duty to country and responsibility to the future of humankind, they “leaked” certain information to the general populace using the “fictional” character method. That they chose Ong’s Hat for the residence of their fictional characters will become more suspicious as we progress. Also, the fact is that a big part of this team’s focus was on cryptography and the cracking of the the Enigma codes. During World War II, one of these people, Alan Turing, served with the British “Government Communication Headquarters” (GCHQ) at Bletchley Park where he played a significant role in breaking the German Enigma codes. There, he used a machine called Colossus to decipher the Enigma codes. These machines were the predecessors to the first digital computers.
The scholastic sources that this amorphous and shadowy group drew upon, and the method of sending messages into the noosphere (as well as into the logos), within a coded document, will become even clearer later in this chapter. This method employs the technology known as memes as its primary force. Memes are patterns of information that behave like viruses. The science of memetics studies the replication, mutation, and carriers of memes. Many scientists consider memes to be actual living things that “ride” in the nervous systems of human beings, and hibernate in books, computer disks, etc. Examples of memes include catchy commercial jingles, the concept of money, political beliefs, and art styles. Certain memes, such as teenage cultural fads, are very susceptible to mutation, while others, such as the major religions, have hit evolutionary dead-ends and hardly change from decade to decade. Some memes, like fire building techniques, are beneficial to their host, while others are toxic to their host, such as the kamikaze and Jim Jones memes. Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins coined the term meme in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. For now, hold those concepts as floating-point integers in your mind. The Princeton connection alone is interesting, but I cite this comment as well, from Preston Nichols, famous as the person who broke the silence and secrecy on the Montauk Project:
In the Spring 2001 edition of The Montauk Pulse, Peter Moon wrote:
In January of 1994, I was driving with Preston Nichols through the state of New Jersey. I hadn’t gotten around to copying the data on Ong’s Hat but told him a much-abbreviated version of the story you have just read. He looked at me and said that he had worked there for a short period. Apparently, he had been sent to do something there from his employer on Long Island. The secret government was involved in some capacity. He also said that Duncan Cameron had worked there extensively in an activity known as Project Dreamsleep. This has now been popularized in a movie called Dreamscape. Much of what Duncan did had to do with targeting then President Jimmy Carter (who was considered an enemy by at least one faction of the CIA — he wanted to cut its budget, reduce its staff, and make it more honest). I was all the more surprised when I sent the entire article to Madame X (mentioned in Montauk Revisited) and she said she used to get phone calls from these same people. There was no “normal” reason for them to call her at all. She said that she simply hears from people when she is supposed to. They were not good friends from the past or anything like that. When the nuclear accident occurred, she became very concerned as she never heard from them after that.
So, how does this all tie into the book catalog and the brochure?
My first encounter with Incunabula: A Catalog of Rare Books, Manuscripts & Curiosa came about through serendipity. I was living in Santa Cruz, California at the time, having just moved from my childhood hometown of Chicago, Illinois, and had moved into a wonderful and affordable apartment building on a hill overlooking the beach. When I moved in, I discovered that former Millbrook, Esalen, UCSC, and ISC alumni were the primary inhabitants of the complex. Among these were Nina Graboi, former assistant to Timothy Leary at the Millbrook Institute in Duchess County New York, and assistant to UCSC Chaos Mathematician Ralph Abraham; Bob Forte, friend and associate of Albert Hoffman, the inventor of LSD 25; and a plethora of similar “counter-culture” figures.
Becoming a resident of 321 Second Street acted as a nexus point for me. Nina was fond of entertaining various counter-culture figures as they came through central California in her “parlor”. Eventually, a semi-organized group formed out of these salon sessions and took a name: the F.O.G., Formless Ocean Group. By way of association with Nina, Bob, and the F.O.G., I was brought into contact with many of the psychedelic figure heads of the time, like Terrence and Dennis McKenna, Peter Stafford, John Lilly, Dave Jay Brown, Elizabeth Gips, Paddy Long, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Nick Herbert, and Hakim Bey (aka, Peter Lamborn Wilson) to name a few.
One of the people I admired the most from The F.O.G. scene was Nick Herbert. Nick was a brilliant physicist who possessed a twisted sense of humor that I personally found palatable. Nick intrigued me for several reasons: he’s funny and intelligent as hell, he had incredible stories about being convinced to walk out on the Livermore life by a “dimensional” being that he encountered, and his invention of the Metaphase Typewriter. The Metaphase Typewriter is a Quantum-uncertain text generator open for mediumistic possession by discarnate spirits.
WIRN OF ACERIONINE SE IND BE B WHAD ATHE OROVESSOUNDRO MAT PIND ASPAS HESUN UR D T CORE G LVIDESPANOUMO BIMARNAGLES HSTEAF NNAN A AITHIDIF PUTAMSUBENES T QUALOA ASELOTNULARE INE T THAPE ALLIGACAZOF WANE HT F A T G R ATHE FOVA WHISERDEM INOT ACRYRYIVESSTHENEMBOFO OR W WO WOMAD FORDISP AS HE WHA CO T T PLE F T OWRUS INIAIDITHE COR NITAL PIS D BEANSTOARERS THESITIVENOVERLASESTEWONM IST MIGHIPOF A DUNKISHENT ISEAD RIENDUBE THERROIN
The text above was created on a quantum-random typewriter overlain with second-order English language statistics. The “metaphase typewriter” was part of a project carried out by members of the Consciousness Theory Group to build machines to communicate with disembodied spirits, including spirits of the dead, and beings from other dimensions or dissociated fragments of living personalities.
Ordinary awareness is one of the biggest mysteries of our age: scientists are totally baffled by the fact that humans enjoy “inner experience” along with their behavior and are at a loss to explain the origin of this experience although much progress has been made in explaining the behavior. One small group of mind scientists believes that mind is a quantum effect and that disembodied entities (which might be called “souls”) manipulate the body by willfully causing quantum possibilities to become actual. In this view mind enters the body from outside (a philosophical position known as “dualism”) by operating on certain quantum-uncertain parts of the nervous system.
For centuries, special people have claimed to be possessed by discarnate beings, spirits of the dead, beings from other planets or higher dimensions. Members of the Consciousness Theory Group felt that there was something vaguely unethical about possessing an already occupied body and wondered if we could create an empty “consciousness-friendly” vessel and invite wandering souls to occupy it.
In the early 1970’s Nick Herbert (SCM Corp) and Dick Shoup (Xerox PARC) designed and built the first “metaphase” devices—quantum operated machines that produced text (metaphase typewriter) and speech (quantum metaphone). We used for our quantum-uncertain source a quantity of radioactive Thallium monitored by a Geiger counter. We looked at the INTERVALS between Geiger counter clicks and printed a probable letter if that interval was very probable, printed an improbable letter if that interval was improbable (much longer than average, for instance). We obtained the second-order English language statistics from an unclassified NSA document available to the public.
The metaphase typewriter was operated under several curious conditions without much success. We invited several famous and not-so-famous psychics to try to influence the endless stream of random anagrams flowing from the typewriter or to cause the ghostly voice from the quantum metaphone to make sense in some known language. We held séances to evoke the spirits of colleagues who had recently died and who knew about the typewriter, and we held an all-day séance on the 100th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s birth to try to contact the spirit of this great magician.
For the next step in metaphase research, I have proposed building quantum-driven communicators that are more consciousness-friendly than radioactive sources, devices that are more similar in size, operation and energy to the (purportedly) quantum synapses in human nervous systems. These devices, called “Eccles Gates” after Nobel laureate Sir John Eccles, one of the chief champions of quantum consciousness, would be composed of an array of quantum-uncertain silicon switches as much like the meat-based synaptic switches in our brains.
In the MPT experiments, I saw a mechanically scientific application of my theories on the construction of a “living book”, and in my living book theories, which I will expound upon these in my next book, Game Over?, and in Peter Moon’s next book, Synchronicity and the Seventh Seal: The Search for Ong’s Hat. Nick saw an element that the MPT had been missing: namely, the human interface and magickal connection that seems to make this kind of stuff work. Also, with the results of the MPT experiment, I had methods, proofs, and failures to base my mathematical models that I was using as the framework for my Living Book.
During a session in my apartment, where we were smoking hash and deliberating the connections between the Quantum models for consciousness and a similar metaphor I had discovered while reading particular passage in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Nick stopped me and pulled out a sheaf of Xeroxed papers from his bag.
“Ever see these?” he asked.
I picked up the papers and looked them over. “No,” I replied. “Where did you get them?”
“Someone sent them to Felicia, anonymously,” he replied.
I looked them over. Upon first glance it appeared to be a fringe science catalog, selling books. I pointed to my bookshelves.
“I have tons of this kind of stuff. I’ve been collecting fringe science pamphlets and booklets for years.”
I then went to my bookshelf and pulled out a newly acquired copy of High Weirdness by Mail. I threw it down on the table.
“Look, someone even did a compendium of all the weird shit you can send away for,” I said. “It’s a fairly popular wacko pastime.”
He snickered in the strange way that he had when he was being cryptically funny. “So, the fact that you have the compendium and a vast collection on your bookshelf of this stuff makes you one of the Alpha wackos, Joe?”
I laughed. “Yeah, I guess so!”
He pointed back to the catalog on the table. “I’m implicated in this. It says I wrote some book that was suppressed. Honestly, I didn’t remember writing it until I read about it in here, but now I’m beginning to question if I did….”
We both stood comfortably silent as only the stoned can and stared at the catalog for a while.
A few days later, I was at a party at the Soundmotion Garden studios and I cornered Felicia, partly because I was genuinely interested in the origin of the catalog and partly because I thought Felicia was a total “hotty” (Californian for very attractive).
“Hey, did you get a weird Xerox catalog of science books and give it to Nick?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah, that. Yeah,” she said.
“Where did it come from?” I asked.
“No idea, it came without a return address. How did you get it?” she replied.
“Nick...” I answered.
“Oh, yeah. Funny how all the books in that catalog are on your shelf, huh? I thought it might be from you...” she said smiling.
“Nope,” I said. “I see how you could think that, but no.”
I went inside from the deck. Nick was sitting in an overstuffed chair, holding wacko court as usual, with several Mondoids (followers of the radical publication Mondo 2000). I pulled him aside. “Still have that catalog you showed me the other day?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said as he reached into his bag and handed it to me. “Here. You can have it. I figure it’s right up your alley.”
I rolled it up and put it into my back pocket. I looked out the window and saw several German college tourist girls who had showed up at the party disrobing to enter the hot tub. I went back out to the deck and forgot about the catalog in my pocket for several days.
Days later, I pulled the catalog from my pocket as I prepared my pile of dirty clothes for the laundry. I read it as I waited for my laundry to finish in the apartment buildings community washing machine. I was stunned. This was so clever! Someone had actually disguised a brilliant short story as a crackpot book catalog! As a fan of Xerox crackpot lit, I could fully appreciate the methodology involved. I ran off several copies on a Xerox machine and gave them to several people. Eventually, utilizing a friend who owned one of the best-known mail order conspiracy book companies of the time, I set up a Xerox for cost edition. Individuals or other catalog companies would order sets and we would Xerox to order. I estimate that we distributed thousands like this. Later, when I began to look into the background and origins of the material, I discovered that this was no “joke” and, in fact, may represent a signal that is being transmitted in many different forms, all over time, whose full purpose I am yet to fully decipher although I have some very definite answers.
As you read the documents that follow, bear in mind that the catalog is not really a catalog, the brochure is not really a brochure. They are clever “enigma” codes that carry powerful symbolism, and a powerful message, disguised as a catalog and brochure.
Look no further than today’s popular media to see the signal as it is picked up. At the time of the publication of this book, Fox network is running a wildly successful Saturday morning children’s show called Galidor. The central theme of this show revolves around a transdimensional transport device called The Egg. There’s even a plan to release a children’s toy version of the Egg complete with an interdimensional traveling action figure appropriately named Nick.
A frequency, a signal, a message in a bottle?
This catalog is a reproduction. This is not a commercial advertisement. Consider this an unusually complete bibliography to the story that unravels in the companion documents. Read this like a short story and you will agree with us that it is in fact a coded message and not a book catalog at all.